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Lancaster City announce Chris Willcock as their new manager 

Chris Willcock is the new manager of Lancaster City FC

Lancaster City have officially announced Chris Willcock as their new manager. 

Willcock oversaw first team training on Thursday night and will be in charge for Lancaster’s game against Hyde United at The Giant Axe on Saturday. 

Lincoln Adams will also join as assistant manager.

Willcock's previous clubs include Mossley, Glossop North End - with whom he had major success - Workington AFC and Ramsbottom United - where he was the successor to City’s previous boss Mark Fell between 2018 and 2021.

During his time at Glossop North End, he guided them to promotion to the NPL Division One North as champions of the North West Counties Premier Division in 2014/15.

They also won the North West Counties League Cup and were runners up of the FA Vase in the same season.

Most recently, he managed Stalybridge Celtic during the 2022/23 season, in which they were relegated from Lancaster City’s league, the NPL Premier Division.

As a player, Willcock played for Flixton, Warrington Town, Altrincham, Netherfield (now Kendal Town), Leigh, Mossley and Ramsbottom United.

The appointment concludes the club’s seven week period without a permanent manager, during which time defender Simon Grand was in temporary charge, as was ex-club captain Andrew Teague until January 4 when he left to join Clitheroe. 

Willcock is a permanent replacement for Fell who resigned on November 22 last year. 

In a statement, Lancaster City’s board said: “Finding the right person, with the right experience of managing not just players but also the financial challenges of operating in this league, was crucial to this appointment.

“Chris has experienced all that non-league football has to offer - the trophies, the challenges, the play-offs and the pressures. It’s that wealth of experience combined with his player and operational management that secured him this much-coveted job.

“As Chris moves into his new role, the board will be working with him to ensure the right structure off the pitch that supports the manager and the team on it. That will include a review of board responsibilities and ways of working with an announcement due at the end of February.”

Willcock said: “I’m delighted to take the helm at Lancaster City - a great club with a great history and a great future ahead. 

“I’m inheriting a strong group of players and a tight-knit squad, and it’s my aim to keep that team together as best we can through the remainder of the season and into next.

“I’m proud to be taking the helm for this next chapter of the Dolly Blues story, and look forward to working with the board, the players and the brilliant volunteers to take this club from strength to strength.”

Lancaster City also say: “As Chris moves into his new role, the board will be working with him to ensure the right structure off the pitch that supports the manager and the team on it. 

“That will include a review of board responsibilities and ways of working with an announcement due at the end of February.”

Willcock's first game in charge of Lancaster City will come when the Dollies host Hyde United on Saturday (January 13) at The Giant Axe.

It will be the third time in eight days that Lancaster will have played a team from the NPL Premier Division’s top five.

They travelled to fourth placed Macclesfield last Saturday (January 6) and got a 2-1 win thanks to goals from brothers Sam and Charlie Bailey. 

However, they were beaten 2-1 on home turf by league leaders Radcliffe on Tuesday (January 9), but they still put in a valiant effort. 

The Dolly Blues sit 11th in the league table, while Hyde United are fifth. 

One of the highlights of City’s season so far was a 3-0 victory at Hyde back in September in boiling hot conditions. 

Another recent memorable win over the ‘the Tigers’ was on Non League Day in March 2023, when Lancaster won 2-1 at The Giant Axe.

The game was watched by a crowd of 833, one of the club’s highest attendances in recent memory.

Midfielder Brad Carroll is expected to miss Saturday’s game due to a hamstring injury that he suffered against Macclesfield.

Tom Kilifin will be available for selection - he came on in the final minutes of Tuesday’s loss against Radcliffe, after being out of action since December 23.

Hyde United have had a decent season so far, currently occupying the last of the playoff positions, and have had two standout results in recent weeks.

They beat runaway leaders Radcliffe 3-1 just before Christmas, and got another very convincing result last weekend, beating fellow playoff hopefuls Marine 4-1 away from home. 

Two of Hyde’s forward players have previously played for Morecambe. 

Their top scorer Jack Redshaw scored 38 times in 129 games between 2012 and 2015.

He has netted on 14 occasions so for this season.

Lewis Alessandra had two spells at the Shrimps earlier in his career and has scored six times during this campaign.  

Lancaster City v Hyde United kicks off at 3pm on Saturday (January 13) at The Giant Axe.

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